Una caravana de activistas viajó desde San Francisco a San Diego, California, para pedir la reunificación de niños migrantes con sus familias y llevarle un mensaje de esperanza a los menores.
Una caravana de activistas viajó desde San Francisco a San Diego, California, para pedir la reunificación de niños migrantes con sus familias y llevarle un mensaje de esperanza a los menores.
"What people?" The White House press secretary hammers away to nail down the question.
The former president's eldest son wasn’t happy when Twitter said people were confused by his tweet calling Joe Biden "the next Jimmy Carter."
Fox News SundayFox News anchor Chris Wallace repeatedly grilled Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) about former President Donald Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrectionist riot, asking if he believes it is a “lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has been one of the key figures in the House GOP when it comes to ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from leadership over her refusal to accept Trump’s bogus claims about the election. The Indiana congressman has called Cheney’s continued criticism of Trump “an unwelcome distraction,” adding that “this idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where” the GOP is.Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Banks defended his push to replace Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a fervent Trump supporter who has publicly backed Trump’s election lies. At the same time, Wallace noted that Banks seemed “unwilling to discuss” Cheney’s criticism of the former president.“I'm not,” Banks declared, adding: “I know the belief that I have, that a majority of our conference have, that she has lost focus on the single mission that we have in winning back the majority, to push back against the radical Biden agenda, is the reason that she needs to be replaced.”Nonetheless, Liz Cheney PersistedUnsatisfied with Banks’ dodge, the veteran Fox News anchor said he was going to “try to get at this a different way,” asking the Republican lawmaker straight-up if he believes that Joe Biden is the legitimate president.“Yes, Joe Biden was elected. He was inaugurated on January 20,” Banks replied, prompting Wallace to get more specific with his questions.Noting that Banks had joined a Texas lawsuit challenging Biden’s electoral victory in several states, Wallace pointed out that he also objected to Congress’ certification of Biden’s election win on Jan. 6—the day of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.“Do you still question whether or not Joe Biden won the election fair and square and got over 270 electoral votes, fair and square?” Wallace pressed the conservative lawmaker.“I stand by my vote to object on January 6 and stand by the Texas lawsuit. I have serious concerns about how the election in November was carried out,” Banks replied. “That is where most Republicans in the GOP conference are unified around that single mission and goal and anything that distracts from it will hold us back from doing that.”Wallace, meanwhile, noted that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had said that Trump “bears responsibility” for the Capitol riots, wondering aloud if Banks felt McCarthy was wrong at the time. Deflecting once again, Banks merely said “every Republican denounced” the violence and there should be a commission to study what happened that day.“I’m just asking a question,” Wallace fired back. “Liz Cheney is saying it’s a big lie to say the election was stolen. Liz Cheney is saying that, in fact, Donald Trump contributed to the riot. I’m asking you for your opinion on those issues. Is it a lie that the election was stolen? Did he contribute to the insurrection on the Capitol?”Insisting that he’s “never said the election was stolen,” Banks still went on to say that he has “very serious concerns with how the election was conducted last November” before reiterating that he’ll “never apologize” for objecting to the election results.“When Liz Cheney says history’s watching and you upon can’t go forward until you resolve this question—the election was fair and square, Donald Trump played a negative role—you think she’s misguided making those points?” Wallace asked in one final question to the congressman.“Yeah, I’ve called on Liz Cheney to rejoin the Republican team and help us go out and win a majority in the midterm election,” Banks affirmed. “That is where my frustration bubbled up.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Close allies to Donald Trump told the Washington Post they wish he was working to protect policies from his term as opposed to holding grudges.
"The @GOP is the solid, undeniable winner of the race to the bottom," one critic snarked at the Republican National Committee's post.
Internal data reveal that voters in "core districts" have unfavorable views of Trump — but rank-and-file Republicans don't want to hear it.
Just months after then-first lady Melania Trump unveiled her controversial redesign of the beloved space directly outside the Oval Office, some are calling for her successor, Jill Biden, to undo those changes and return the Rose Garden to the celebrated vision realized by the Kennedy administration in 1961.
Just in case its tax plans were not evidence enough that the Biden administration has little understanding of the value of incentives, its proposal that intellectual-property protections should be waived in the case of COVID-19 vaccines bolstered the message that no economically productive deed should go unpunished. The New York Times provided some background: The United States had been a major holdout at the World Trade Organization over a proposal to suspend some of the world economic body’s intellectual property protections, which could allow drugmakers across the globe access to the closely guarded trade secrets of how the viable vaccines have been made. But President Biden had come under increasing pressure to throw his support behind the proposal, drafted by India and South Africa and backed by many congressional Democrats. Scroll a little further down to see that wicked Uncle Sam had not exactly been alone in taking this position: Support from the White House is not a guarantee that a waiver will be adopted. The European Union has also been standing in the way, and changes to international intellectual property rules require unanimous agreement. Ms. Tai said the United States would participate in negotiations at the World Trade Organization over the matter, but that they would “take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved.” And speaking of the EU, here (via The Guardian) are some arguments from Germany: Angela Merkel’s government came out against a waiver on Thursday. “The US suggestion for the lifting of patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines has significant implications for vaccine production as a whole,” a government spokeswoman said. “The limiting factors in the production of vaccines are the production capacities and the high-quality standards and not patents,” she added, arguing that the companies were already working with partners to boost manufacturing capacity. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future.” Just because these comments are coming from Angela Merkel’s government doesn’t mean that they are incorrect. Return to the New York Times and scroll even further down to see that the U.K. is also listed among “other opponents” of the idea. But Elizabeth Warren, predictably, was thrilled by the announcement, and, of course, didn’t waste the opportunity to talk about “billions.” Yahoo!Finance: The news came in the middle of a Yahoo Finance interview with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Fantastic!” she said upon learning the news, raising her hands in the air in a double fist pump. . . . “I’m delighted.” Shares of COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna (MRNA), and BioNTech (BNTX) were down by as much as 8% and 6%, respectively, in morning trading on Thursday. Asked earlier in the interview about a potential patent waiver, Warren said that “this is not a time to be protecting the multi-billions of dollars in profits for these companies.” Well, if we’re talking time and billions, as Tom Chivers noted in the Post, there is also an October 2020 presentation by Michael Kremer, a Nobel Prize–winning economist, in which Kremer noted that the World Bank had estimated a $12 trillion loss in 2020–2021 because of COVID-19, implying a roughly $500 billion “gain from accelerating vaccine development by one month,” and that was before factoring in “mortality and health losses.” The sell-off in stock prices did not earn the companies’ shareholders much sympathy from Representative Mark Pocan, a Democrat, who tweeted: It’s almost as if Big Pharma relies on keeping life-saving medicine inaccessible. Some might say that, when it comes to making lifesaving medicine available, Big Pharma had done quite a bit, and in an astonishingly short time. Perhaps it’s worth adding, as Kimberley Strassel did in the Wall Street Journal, that “Moderna spent 10 years developing its mRNA technology, and only this week turned its first profit.” Or maybe read this from Moderna in October (my emphasis added): While the pandemic continues, Moderna will not enforce our COVID-19 related patents against those making vaccines intended to combat the pandemic. Further, to eliminate any perceived IP barriers to vaccine development during the pandemic period, upon request we are also willing to license our intellectual property for COVID-19 vaccines to others for the post pandemic period. So much for “inaccessible.” As at Friday’s close, the Moderna share price had recovered a little, but it remained well off where it was trading before the administration announced its support for a waiver. The same was true of shares in BioNtech and Pfizer. Returning to that New York Times story, it was not surprising to read this: Stephen J. Ubl, the president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, called the announcement “an unprecedented step that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety.” “This decision will sow confusion between public and private partners, further weaken already strained supply chains and foster the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines,” he said in a statement, adding that the move would have the effect of “handing over American innovations to countries [could, I wonder, China be one of those?] looking to undermine our leadership in biomedical discovery.” The pharmaceutical industry has argued that a suspension of patent protections would undermine risk-taking and innovation. “Who will make the vaccine next time?” Brent Saunders, the former chief executive of Allergan, which is now part of AbbVie, wrote on Twitter. But that these comments were not surprising did not make them incorrect. Writing in Capital Matters, Alden Abbott: Patent rights were key to the unprecedentedly rapid development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in 2020. A number of highly successful COVID-19 vaccines (including the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines) came about due to earlier innovative mRNA research that was spurred by patents. Indeed, patent experts recently indicated that patent-inspired “mRNA vaccines could open the door for the approval of other mRNA-based medicines, creating a wide range of new markets.” This point was underlined by Matthew Lesh in CapX: We are on the cusp of technologies that could end pestilence. But doing so will take efforts to understand viral threats, prepare vaccines, undertake early-stage testing and develop manufacturing and logistics in advance. This investment simply won’t happen unless vaccines are also profitable. Abbott: Significantly, patents have not affected the mass production of important COVID-19 vaccines. As former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office chief Andrei Iancu explains, vaccine makers already have entered into a web of agreements with countries around the world, and “almost every factory on the planet that can make these vaccines is already doing so.” In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal added some numbers: Pfizer and BioNTech this week said they aimed to deliver three billion doses this year, up from last summer’s 1.2 billion estimate. Moderna increased its supply forecast for this year to between 800 million and a billion from 600 million. AstraZeneca says it has built a supply network with 25 manufacturing organizations in 15 countries to produce three billion doses this year. And (my emphasis added): AstraZeneca and Novavax have leaned heavily on manufacturers in India to produce billions of doses reserved for lower-income countries. But India has restricted vaccine exports to supply its own population. IP simply isn’t restraining vaccine production. Back to Abbott: Patents are needed to provide the future financing that is critical to incentivize the huge amount of R&D needed to bring forth new medical treatments that improve the lives of millions. Developing new drugs and vaccines is very risky and costly. The cost of developing a new prescription medicine with marketing approval has risen to an average $2.6 billion, and the rate of success in clinical trials has dropped to 12 percent, according to a Tufts Center for Drug Development study. Also, because of the length of regulatory delays and drug trials, the actual period of patent protection for the few highly profitable pharmaceutical products is often relatively short. That places a premium on obtaining significant financial returns during the quite limited patent term. In sum, a waiver of COVID-19 patent rights would send a signal that pharma-related patents are undependable, potentially starting a ripple effect of reduced investment in drugs and vaccines throughout the health-care system. The long-term effect would be a reduction of future health-care quality and outcomes. A waiver could also generate near-term health-care harms for millions of individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It could do this by reducing quality-control efforts of new COVID-19 vaccine producers not subject to the oversight of patent holders. Norman Baylor, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Vaccine Research and Review, recently pointed out: “There are hundreds of process steps involved in the manufacturing of vaccines, and thousands of check points for testing to assure the quality and consistency of manufacturing. One may transfer the IP, but the transfer of skills is not that simple.” Absent quality assurance, the incidence of ineffective or harmful vaccine administrations could rise significantly, directly harming individuals and potentially disincentivizing many individuals from obtaining vaccine shots. There is certainly an argument that yet more could be done speed up vaccine production even more quickly. As CapX’s Lesh pointed out: This would save lives and be in our own interest, delivering a faster global economic recovery while reducing the threat of vaccine-resistant strains arising. That goal is so important that we should be willing to pay whatever it takes, including making sure all the companies involved make a healthy profit, to speed up the process . . . However, in Lesh’s view, the administration’s move was “a lazy, virtue signaling stunt rather than a meaningful solution.” It is hard to disagree. And even if the waiver doesn’t go through, the signal sent by the administration’s proposal, whether it’s the contempt for private property, the disdain for the power of incentive, or the willingness to trash (another) successful American industry (remember the steps that have been taken against fracking) is unlikely to be forgotten — with results that will inhibit American innovation, throw away American jobs, and, in due course, cost lives, not just in America, but all over the world. Of course, no one should doubt for a moment, to quote Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative, that the pandemic is a “global crisis” and that these are “extraordinary circumstances.” But at a time when the White House is also touting a climate “emergency” as another global crisis, the implied reassurance that this is a one-off is less than reassuring, and as for the means by which the administration is proceeding, well . . . Strassel in the Wall Street Journal: The move is also in keeping with the administration’s attitude that Congress exists solely to rubber-stamp its spending proposals. Congress has spent decades wrangling over the contours of patent protections, producing bipartisan legislation from the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984 to the Leahy-Smith Act of 2011. Mr. Biden proposes to disregard all these laws with the wave of an executive memo to the WTO—much as he has already been governing by dubious executive orders on immigration, mask mandates, pipeline cancellations, and healthcare. Mr. Biden will use Congress when reconciliation makes it convenient. But what Congress won’t give him, he will decree unilaterally. This is not where this country should be. This is not what this country should be. The Capital Record We released the latest of a series of podcasts, the Capital Record. Follow the link to see how to subscribe (it’s free!). The Capital Record, which appears weekly, is designed to make use another medium to deliver Capital Matters’ defense of free markets. Financier and NRI trustee David L. Bahnsen hosts discussions on economics and finance in this National Review Capital Matters podcast, sponsored by National Review Institute. Episodes feature interviews with the nation’s top business leaders, entrepreneurs, investment professionals, and financial commentators. In the 16th episode David Bahnsen talked to Larry Kudlow about tax rates, energy policy, and more. But what David and Larry really talked about was an economic system based on incentives. And the Capital Matters week that was . . . The week began with Joseph Sullivan (our chart guy) arguing that the Trump tax overhaul did boost investment: After the Trump administration’s corporate-tax cuts, investment’s share of GDP was the highest it had been in the last four quarters of any business cycle since 1990. Its average level over the four quarters leading up to the COVID-19 contraction in Q2 2020, 13.16 percent, was 3.63 percentage points higher than in the business cycle’s first quarter, Q2 2009, when it was 9.53 percent. Yes, the elevated level of investment in the late stages of the Dotcom boom that became a bust in Q2 2001 comes close at 3.42 percent . . . We published an excerpt from Steven Koonin’s new book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. Here’s an excerpt from the excerpt: I’m a scientist — I work to understand the world through measurements and observations, and then to communicate clearly both the excitement and the implications of that understanding. Early in my career, I had great fun doing this for esoteric phenomena in the realm of atoms and nuclei using high-performance computer modeling (which is also an important tool for much of climate science). But beginning in 2004, I spent about a decade turning those same methods to the subject of climate and its implications for energy technologies. I did this first as chief scientist for the oil company BP, where I focused on advancing renewable energy, and then as undersecretary for science in the Obama administration’s Department of Energy, where I helped guide the government’s investments in energy technologies and climate science. I found great satisfaction in these roles, helping to define and catalyze actions that would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, the agreed-upon imperative that would “save the planet.” But then the doubts began . . . Kevin O’Connell and Alexander Salter discussed great-power competition on the final frontier: Great power competition is back, and it’s headed to the stars once again. On one side is an international coalition led by the United States, committed to exploration and commercial development. On the other side are the rogue nations of Russia and China. Russia’s glory days in space are behind it, but it still has the capacity to harm U.S. interests. China, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming space power determined to increase its sphere of influence both on the earth and above it. This past October, eight nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom — signed the Artemis Accords, a cooperative agreement for the peaceful uses of outer space. Russia and China were decidedly unimpressed. They recently signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on the construction of a lunar research base. Since President Biden reaffirmed American commitment to the Artemis Accords as a foundation for future moon missions, the Russia–China agreement is a clear challenge to the vision of the U.S. and its allies. Realpolitik is a basic fact of international relations. We can’t eliminate it. But we can mitigate it, by creating governance institutions for space that incentivize governments to play nice. What we need is a clear and effective property-rights regime for celestial resources . . . Matt Weidinger explained how government “allowances” are the new welfare: Washington seems to have developed an “allowance” fetish, and it has nothing to do with parents paying their kids for completing chores: A number of new government “allowances” would distribute boatloads of taxpayer money to tens of millions of households. First came a proposal, which is now law, to temporarily convert the long-standing federal child tax credit into what supporters call a “child allowance.” As implied by the name change, the new payments have little to do with whether a parent pays taxes. This year, parents don’t need to have paid taxes at all to collect an annual allowance of up to $3,600 per child. In fact, the only parents not eligible for the allowance are the relative few high earners who pay the most federal income taxes. According to the New York Times, “more than 93 percent of children — 69 million” will benefit from the new federal giveaway . . . Jessica Hornik Evans reported from her grocery store: The self-serve olive bar is back at my supermarket. The one-way signs have been removed from the aisles. The cashiers are no longer required to clean the belt between customers. After a year of so much loss and misery, little restorations mean a lot . . . Jerry Bowyer asked some awkward questions: My firm, Bowyer Research, created a database of the companies in which we are invested that were listed by the Human Rights Campaign as Equality Act endorsers. I then signed up for the annual meetings of those companies and have been attending them. I have been asking each company in turn, via the proper, formal question-submission processes at the start of each meeting, to explain their support for this law. So far, I have attended and asked that question of Exelon, Cigna, Ameriprise, and Corning. What happened? My questions were simply ignored. It’s actually worse than that. In the case of Exelon, after several other shareholder questions were read and addressed, it was suggested that there were no more questions. And in the case of Cigna and Corning it was stated, at least arguably (the forthcoming release of meeting records will allow readers to decide for themselves), that there were no further questions, even though mine was still unaddressed. In other words, not only was my question thrown down the memory hole, the memory hole was thrown down another memory hole . . . Robert VerBruggen discussed the latest turn in the “Mommy Wars”: For couples with young kids, work and child care can be incredibly fraught topics. There are no perfect options, just trade-offs that different couples, with different values and different work situations, evaluate differently. Sometimes it makes the most sense for both parents to work while the kids go to day care; other times it’s best for one parent to stay home or work part-time; still other couples are able to rely on family members to watch the kids rather than using day care. Joe Biden’s American Families Plan would plop the government’s thumb heavily on one side of the scale, using taxpayer money to massively subsidize child care for the working and middle classes. Stay-at-home parents, who watch their own kids so no one else has to, would no longer pocket the resulting savings for their families. This is far outside the proper role of government, contrary to the values of many American parents, and quite possibly harmful to kids . . . But Ramesh Ponnuru took issue with one aspect of Robert’s argument: Robert VerBruggen makes a strong case against Biden’s child-care proposal, and I agree with all of it except for one aside. While the proposal stacks the deck against families with “stay-at-home” parents (who are mostly mothers), he writes that other existing policies are unfair in the opposite direction: “In some ways the status quo is quite favorable to stay-at-home parents, who, for example, get an especially good deal from Social Security and Medicare.” Policies that transfer money to these one-earner married couples are dwarfed in size, though, by policies that strongly tend to transfer money away from them, making them subsidizers rather than subsidized on net. And there are also policies that, while not transfering resources among households, have a bigger negative economic effect on large households (e.g., modern child-safety seat requirements) . . . Iain Murray made the case that labor law should adapt to the gig economy — not the other way around: The idea that a master-servant relationship with an employer is somehow best for the worker remains prevalent. This has been the motive behind various attempts, most notably California’s AB5 bill, to forcibly convert gig workers into employees. The effect of these attempts has been to sweep up many traditionally freelance jobs that survived the legislation of the 1930s into an employment relationship. This is what helped doom the California attempt. Voters recognize that some people do not want an employment relationship and gravitate towards freelance work — which would not exist in an employment-only world. So many people were affected by AB5’s broad brush that California voters rejected AB5 by a large majority in a ballot initiative. Yet Secretary Walsh’s remarks indicate that the Biden administration might attempt to repeat AB5’s mistakes. The PRO Act, for instance, which President Biden has touted as an essential part of his infrastructure package, aims to make all gig-economy and freelance workers eligible for unionization, a first step on the road to AB5 and the imposition of a master-servant relationship neither the workers nor the platforms want. Instead of trying to force everyone into an outdated model, Secretary Walsh and his department should be looking at how work has changed, and should provide the president with proposals to send to Congress that reflect those changes. Veronique de Rugy examined a case of cronyism: It is rare that we taxpayers get to see how crony deals are made in Washington. But what follows is an example provided to us by the Export-Import Bank. Bear with me while I give you some background. In January, ExIm announced a deal extending a 90 percent guarantee of a $50 million supply-chain-finance facility from Greensill Capital to Freeport LNG Marketing, LLC, a Texas-based company. The loan was extended through supply- chain-finance (SCF) provider Greensill. This came on the tail of a massive $4.7 billion ExIm deal to support the development and construction of an LNG project in Mozambique. Leading up to this project, the U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry warned it would be hurt by its own government giving a leg up to a foreign LNG projects, and ExIm analysts warn the agency of security concern in the country that could lead to the demise of the project (that means the loss of taxpayers’ money). That didn’t matter . . . Marc Joffe took issue with the idea of a postal bank: Absent a large taxpayer-funded subsidy to offset the losses associated with providing more favorable terms on these loans, the market for a postal bank would be considerably smaller than the 63 million figure Senator Gillibrand cites. And even if there is a legitimate need to provide better access to these services, other institutions are stepping in to serve prospective users of a postal bank. Over the last few years, a group of venture-capital-backed firms have formed to tackle the needs of unbanked individuals. These “neobanks” do not have physical branches but are available to customers 24/7 through smartphone apps. The leading neobank, Chime, has raised $1.5 billion in venture capital and is valued at $14.5 billion. It offers an online account with a debit card and without fees, minima, or credit checks. Chime has several well-funded competitors including Dave, N26, and Varo. Even Robinhood, the online stock brokerage catering to younger customers, is now providing cash-management services . . . As mentioned above, Alden Abbott was unimpressed by Joe Biden’s proposed waiver of intellectual-property rights for COVID-19 vaccines: Waiving intellectual property protections (including patents) for COVID-19 vaccines, which, as U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai announced Wednesday, the Biden administration supports, will if implemented prove disastrous for American innovation — and detrimental to public health as well . . . Brian Riedl reacted to some of the reaction to the disappointing jobs number: When Congress spends trillions and the economy responds positively, they credit the stimulus spending and claim that we should have done even more. When Congress spends trillions and the economy does not respond, the same advocates assert that the stimulus spending must have been too small, and Congress should double down on spending and debt. In this framework, the case for stimulus spending is non-falsifiable. Every possible economic outcome is considered proof that stimulus works. A similar thing happened during the 2008–2009 “Great Recession.” President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill did not end the recession – the economy was already out of recession by the summer of 2009, before more than a small fraction of the law had even been implemented . . . Charles Cooke was not that surprised by the jobs shortfall: A lot of people said they were “shocked.” But why, exactly? Did they believe that Joe Biden had rendered gravity optional? This is what you get when you pay people not to work. It’s what you get when you send check after check after check to people who, were they permitted to, would be perfectly capable of regaining employment. It’s what you get when you allow the teachers’ unions to shut down the schools ad nauseam, and put working parents in a long-term bind. There is nothing magical about 2021, or about Joe Biden, or about this set of legislators and appointees and special interests. The same rules apply to them that applied to their predecessors. You can’t spend what you don’t have. You can’t tax and spend your way to prosperity. And human beings cannot be programmed out of responding to clear incentives. Call your plans whatever you want — Build Back Better, Modern Monetary Theory, Fairness, the Left-Handed Teacup Initiative — it doesn’t matter. Reality doesn’t care about branding . . . And nor, I think, was Noah Williams: Over the past couple months there have been increasing numbers of reports of businesses having trouble hiring, particularly in the restaurant industry. This industry was hit hardest by the pandemic, due to mandated closures, capacity restrictions, and shifts in dining behavior. It is also the largest sector employing low-wage labor, which puts it in direct competition with enhanced unemployment benefits. Although job openings had grown, and new online job listings were well above pre-pandemic levels, the reports and surveys pointing toward labor shortages and hiring difficulties were dismissed as anecdotal. That all ended with the April employment report. Where should policy go? As is often the case, states are leading the way. Over the past week two states, Montana and South Carolina, have opted out of the federal unemployment expansions. Of these, Montana’s decision to roll four weeks of the federal unemployment expansions into a re-employment bonus, which provides a direct incentive to return to work, seems the most promising. Previous trial programs have found that re-employment bonuses shorten unemployment durations, generate social gains by putting workers back to work, and even reduce the cost of unemployment programs. Robert Smullen and Jonathan Williams turned their attention to New York’s woes: Even when the COVID-19 pandemic becomes a distant memory, Americans will still be paying for the record-breaking government debt incurred by government overspending — the vast majority of which unfortunately had little or nothing to do with pandemic-induced health-care needs. After all, while the pandemic negatively affected every American in some way, it was thankfully not an existential threat to the free world — and it did not require World War II levels of national debt to keep Americans on their feet. Yet New Yorkers, more so than any others in the country, are on the verge of feeling the true weight and cost of the pandemic. New York tax and fiscal policy has not gone unnoticed. Indeed, as thousands and counting have left the Empire State, the U.S. Census recently reported that New York will lose one seat in the 2020 congressional reapportionment. As demographers now attempt to sort out some discrepancies between the annual Census estimates this past decade, which in recent years showed even more of a loss, and the actual new numbers, one thing is crystal clear: New York’s population continues to grow at a substantially slower pace than the nation as a whole. The real long-term problem in New York is its embrace of big-government-style tax and spending. It is difficult to comprehend, but New York’s budget for 2021 was more than twice as much as Florida’s, despite having only 2 million fewer residents . . . Robert Brooks underlined the importance of shareholder primacy: Companies are owned by their shareholders and hence should be solely managed based on the fiduciary trust granted to managers. Operating a company on behalf of any other stakeholder is a breach of fiduciary duty. Obviously, treating employees, customers, and suppliers with integrity and respect is simply fulfilling managers’ fiduciary duty as it results in direct benefits to the shareholders. But shareholders should actively push back against managers who pursue ideological goals at the expense of their businesses, not only because it will hurt their wallets, but because it undermines the shared premises necessary to a functioning economy. If the heft of large shareholders proves insurmountable in attempts to influence management, an alternative is to allocate capital toward only those businesses with a demonstrable commitment to shareholder primacy. The more power that Americans cede to ideologically driven asset managers, the more likely we are to sacrifice the tremendous gains in wealth and technology provided by traditional values . . . To sign up for the Capital Letter, follow this link.
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty In a one-man fight against the ruling establishments of North and South Korea, a 53-year-old defector has outraged Kim Yo Jong, kid sister of ruler Kim Jong Un, and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in alike.Park Sang-Hak, who fled North Korea 21 years ago with his family, has defied both of them by sending thousands of leaflets cascading over the North in defiance of a new law rammed through the South’s National Assembly banning this expression of free speech.In the run-up to Moon’s first summit with President Joe Biden in the White House on May 21, South Korean police have refrained from arresting Park, but the police searched his office on Thursday minutes after he told The Daily Beast in a Zoom conversation that he was “determined to keep sending leaflets” regardless of the law and constant surveillance.Kim Yo Jong Is Ready to Become the First Woman Dictator in Modern HistoryThe police may have listened in on the interview with The Daily Beast—Park’s last phone contact with a journalist before they confiscated his mobile along with documents from his office in Seoul to which he defected in 2000 through China with his wife and son.Park’s main message to the North Koreans, as propounded in 500,000 leaflets and 500 pamphlets dropped from balloons wafted over the North on April 28 and April 30: “Kim Jong Un is developing nuclear weapons while 20 million people are starving.”That was enough to infuriate Kim Yo Jong, who sought to intimidate the South in a statement asking if South Korean authorities were “ready to take care of the consequences of evil conduct done by the rubbish-like mongrel dogs who took no scruple to slander us while faulting the ‘nuclear issue’ in the meanest way.”“Clearly speaking,” she said in her statement, carried in English on May 2 by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, “[The South Koreans] will be forced to pay a dear price if they let this situation go on while making sort of excuses.”Speaking to The Daily Beast, Park cited Kim Yo Jong’s fury as evidence that South Korean officials were lying when they claimed that most of the balloons bearing the leaflets had blown back to the South, missing intended targets. He said many had landed in the vicinity of Pyongyang’s central railroad station where they were easily picked up by ordinary people as well as North Korean soldiers. Along with the leaflets, 5,000 one-dollar bills were also dropped over the North to give people real money as opposed to near-worthless North Korean currency.Park, who calls his organization “Fighters for a Free North Korea,” said in a Zoom conversation that police were constantly following his movements and watching both his office and residence to keep him from making good on plans to launch more leaflets—and also to protect him from assassination by North Korean agents. Over the past two decades, he’s been responsible for more than 100 leaflet launches over the North. Other North Korean defectors have launched many more, but he’s the only one to have defied the new law banning leaflets as passed by Korea’s national assembly in December.“The North Koreans have put out a directive,” said Park, talking through a long-time contact serving as an interpreter for the conversation. “They said, ‘Get rid of Park Sang-Hak.’”Defiantly, he added , “[South Korean police] cannot arrest me”—at least not until after Biden’s summit with Moon.North Korea Says It’s Ghosting Endless Calls and Emails From Team BidenBiden and his team have not commented on whether the topic of the anti-leaflet law will come up at the summit, but Park hoped Biden would ask about the legality of the legislation that he said represses free speech as guaranteed in the South’s constitution.“I want President Biden to ask all those questions,” he said. “Why does Moon violate the Korean constitution, freedom of speech, freedom of information. That’s what President Biden should confront President Moon with.”Park spoke out in terms that clearly identify with Korean right-wing forces, gathering strength while Moon’s own popularity sinks in response to corruption scandals and economic issues.“Moon is working for Kim Jong Un,” he said, echoing widespread comments by Moon’s conservative critics.He almost dared South Korean authorities to jail him, declaring: “If I am arrested, opposition party politicians and the mass media will not sit silently by. They will raise holy hell.” He believed one reason he remained free was the political pressure of the conservative Liberty Party, standing against the ruling Democratic Party in the National Assembly.“I don’t think Moon will arrest me,” he said. “It will look vile and low if he arrests me after the summit.”Park’s defiance of authorities contrasts with that of other defectors who have refrained from launching leaflets since enactment of the anti-leaflet law.“As long as the North Korean people suffer, there will be no stopping,” he said. “We will keep sending leaflets.”The police raid on his office, however, suggests that he may not be able to make good on that pledge even if he’s not arrested. Without a mobile phone, it’s not even certain he will be able to publicize his views anywhere.“Moon claims he’s for human rights,” he told The Daily Beast. “He’s a puppet of the North Korean regime, the Kim dynasty. He is close to Kim and also to [Chinese president] Xi Jinping. ”He said he saw no way for the Americans or South Koreans to get into dialog with the North after the Biden-Moon summit.“Moon will beg Biden to have a summit with North Korea,” he said. “I don’t think it will happen.” In the meantime, he added, “Kim Jong Un has got what he wants, nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles. Moon will ask Biden to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
When Zambia's founding president celebrated his 97th birthday, some people had never heard of him.
The IRS, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service announced Wednesday that they are disbursing nearly two million payments in the fifth batch of economic impact...
Chinese people are being introduced to a program that monitors their behavior, scores them, and doles out punishments and rewards.
This included personal, work, and home phone numbers, and allegedly did not include any information about whether DOJ leadership approved the subpoena.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed 15 bills, including measures that will help upgrade Florida’s much-maligned unemployment system, regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes and limit contributions to political committees supporting ballot initiatives.
The State Department said Friday it is allowing non-essential diplomats and the families of all American staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu to leave Nepal at government expense due a surge in coronavirus cases. “On May 7, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency U.S. government employees from Nepal,” the department said.
Republican Sen. Karen Fann responded to the DOJ's concerns Friday, claiming the Senate decided weeks ago to halt voter canvassing.
Two years ago, on April 30, 2019, the Venezuelan people took to the streets to reclaim their democracy from the illegitimate rule of Nicolás Maduro. Yet for now, Maduro still clings to power. In so doing, he has driven what was once the wealthiest country in Latin America — with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, its second-largest gold deposits, and one of the highest literacy rates in the region — into abject, grinding poverty. Venezuela has an institutionalized kleptocracy the likes of which the world has never seen before, and it is now a failed state. As such, it poses a direct threat to the United States, whether from trafficking in drugs, colluding with multiple terrorist groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah, or hosting Russian nuclear bombers. Moreover, as Venezuela’s constitutionally appointed interim president, Juan Guaidó, told me during a recent event at the Hudson Institute, Iran has now set up operations in Venezuela “to establish a base in the Americas to import foreign conflicts into American territory.” The security implications for the United States couldn’t be clearer. But the Biden administration has yet to articulate a clear policy on Venezuela and has taken no real steps other than to conduct a muddled, hyperpartisan background briefing in March suggesting that U.S. sanctions were ineffective and may be hurting the Venezuelan people. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sanctions imposed on Maduro and his cronies by the U.S., the E.U., and the Lima Group (ten Latin American nations plus Canada) have dented their kleptocratic enterprise. Maduro is to blame for the suffering in Venezuela, not our financial countermeasures. The size and variety of corruption schemes employed by the regime is dizzying. Over the past two decades, the late Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro and their cronies plundered at least $300 billion from state assets (according to several of Chávez’s own former ministers). At the same time, they racked up a massive amount of debt; experts place the amount owed to creditors at more than $150 billion. The situation is so bad that the International Monetary Fund recently made clear that the Maduro regime is cut off from receiving its $5 billion in special drawing rights, because the IMF knows that Maduro will simply steal the money. Despite being a founding member of OPEC, Venezuela now suffers from chronic gasoline shortages — due entirely to the fact that the Chavista kleptocrats have completely looted the national oil company, PDVSA. Maduro installed loyalists with no background in oil production to run the company, and their sheer incompetence has only made matters worse. The resulting 80 percent crash in oil production during Maduro’s reign has meant that a country that once brought in $90 billion a year in sales now ekes out just $2 billion. Regime insiders also plundered the value of the national currency, the bolivar. Venezuelan national treasurers took massive bribes and kickbacks from select exchange houses, from which they purchased bolivars for dollars at the artificially low “official” exchange rate. As the regime drove Venezuela into bankruptcy, hyperinflation took root, and the value of the bolivar is now around one six-millionth of what it was when Maduro took office. And, not content to ruin just the economy, the regime has also committed ecocide through illegal strip-mining of gold, which has had devastating consequences for the environment. Of all the rapacious schemes employed by Maduro and his cronies, the most heinous was the one run for the benefit of Maduro himself: profiting from the starvation of his own people. By blocking humanitarian aid from outside the country, he made Venezuelans increasingly dependent on the so-called CLAP program — a food-box distribution. By overbilling on sole-source contracts and purchasing substandard products, Maduro and his front men stole as much as 70 percent of the money that was meant to feed the most desperate Venezuelans. The humanitarian consequences of the regime’s greed have been devastating. One in six Venezuelans have fled the country — as many as six million people. Those left behind live in a country with a completely collapsed public-health infrastructure and no regular access to electricity or water. With many hospitals closed, infant and maternal mortality rates have surged, and diseases such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever are spreading — not to mention COVID-19. We are witnessing the brutalization of the Venezuelan people right before our eyes, in our own hemisphere. The crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Maduro regime must not go unanswered. Rather than meekly criticize sanctions, the Biden administration should build on the hard work of the previous administration to combat Maduro’s kleptocracy and hold the regime accountable for its crimes. Moreover, the administration must fulfill the commitment America made to the Venezuelan people and put its full support behind interim president Juan Guaidó. The failed state on our doorstep is not going to resolve itself on its own. The longer the Maduro mafia is allowed to operate, the worse the consequences will be for the Venezuelan people and for the entire hemisphere. The Biden administration is making matters worse by all but stopping the adoption of sanctions to cripple the regime. It urgently needs to resume the pressure campaign established under President Trump. This includes interdiction of illicit fuel shipments to Venezuela by Iran. On multiple occasions over the past few months, the Biden team has turned a blind eye to shipments from Iran’s terrorist-designated National Iranian Tanker Company. In addition, a strong message needs to be sent to both Cuba and Russia, which have created a praetorian guard to surround and protect Maduro. If they continue to insulate the despot from his own people, severe economic consequences for both countries should ensue. Finally, President Trump said several times that “all options are on the table” for dealing with Maduro. President Biden should ask Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to lay those options out, starting with deployment of the Eighth Special Forces Group to Colombia, and he should act to swiftly end the corruption and suffering in Venezuela.
China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday. "It is a politically-motivated event," China's U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use "human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China's internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China's development."
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, also prohibits colleges and universities from requiring mandatory diversity training.
Indiana slashed taxes. Wages have since fallen even further behind the national average, and it's growing more slowly than high-tax California. The growth in Texas? In its high-tax areas.